WMU News

Plano selected as first outstanding emeritus scholar

February 5, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Jack C. Plano, who served on Western Michigan University's political science faculty from 1952 to 1987, has been selected as the University's first Outstanding Emeritus Scholar.

He will receive his award at WMU's 18th annual Academic Convocation at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

The Outstanding Emeritus Scholar Award was inaugurated this year to recognize retired faculty members with exemplary scholarship. Criteria for the award parallel those for the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, WMU's highest honor for a faculty member. They include that there be a significant body of achievement, most of which has been accomplished while a faculty member at WMU. The recipients also must have wide recognition beyond the University. Nominations are sought campuswide.

Plano is being recognized primarily for his extensive publication record that spans nearly all areas of political science. In addition to writing his own groundbreaking books, Plano has served since 1980 as editor of a political dictionary series published by the American Bibliographical Center--Clio Press. He also founded New Issues Press at WMU and served as its managing editor from 1974 to 1987.

"Jack C. Plano's 'body of achievement' spans almost four decades and represents a contribution to the profession and to scholarship virtually unequaled in the history of Western Michigan University," wrote a colleague in nominating him for the award.

Plano's own publications include "The American Political Dictionary," which he first wrote in 1962 with Dr. Milton Greenberg. That book was published in a 10th edition in 1997. Plano is also well known for his 1967 work, "Forging World Order--The Politics of International Organization," which he wrote with Dr. Robert E. Riggs. The book was a leading volume in its field and showcased the authors' extensive knowledge of the United Nations. It was followed in 1988 and 1994 by two editions of "The United Nations: International Organizations and World Politics," a comprehensive study of the operations of the U.N. system.

The ABC-Clio series he edits now includes 23 dictionaries on topics ranging from the Middle East and Latin America to political analysis and international development. Plano developed the format and style of these dictionaries, which define and describe the significance of the terms, events, characteristics, movements and institutions that relate to the particular topic of each book. In addition to being credited with creating books that help students learn more easily, Plano has won praise for his work from colleagues on these volumes.

"Jack and his dictionaries have also been important to the intellectual life and professional development of those whom he has recruited as authors and co-authors," said another person in nominating him for the award. "He not only produced scholarly writings himself -- he was a catalyst and instigator for the scholarly work of others."

As managing editor of WMU's first successful university press, New Issues Press, he worked with faculty authors on some 15 books on topics as wide ranging as population patterns, costume design and WMU's history. His careful work on these volumes has earned Plano the respect of their authors.

"I view him as a scholar's scholar," said one colleague. "He remains editorially conscious of every step in the process of publishing, meticulous in his attention to detail, devoted to accuracy and precision, and a promoter of high academic standards."

Plano earned his bachelor's degree from Ripon College and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Since retiring from the University, Plano has divided his time between Kalamazoo and Orange Beach, Ala.

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